Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Leigh Ann from MN. Leigh Ann Wonders, “Do ghosts exist?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Leigh Ann!

Each year as Halloween approaches, familiar creatures and characters creep their way out of the deep, dark crevices where they've been hiding all year long. If you look around, it won't be long until you see a pale apparition trying to put a good scare into you. What are we talking about? Ghosts, of course!

Ghosts can run the gamut from friendly ghosts, like Casper, to seriously sinister ghouls that want to haunt your dreams. But they're just figments of your imagination, right? Ghosts aren't real, are they?

Ghosts have been around for a long, long time. From the Bible to Shakespeare's Macbeth, you'll find ghosts mentioned in thousands upon thousands of stories. They're so prevalent that they actually have their own genre: the ever-popular ghost story.

It's only natural to WONDER about what happens when someone dies. Does any part of that person live on? Could the spirit hang around this world and interact with the living? Who wouldn't want to believe that a loved one might remain close by, looking over the living?

Many people believe ghosts are indeed real. Experts believe ghosts are the most common paranormal belief in the world. Some experts estimate that as many as one-half of all Americans believe in ghosts. Researchers point to the presence of over 2,000 amateur ghost-hunting groups in the United States as further proof of the popularity of ghosts in American culture.

Why do so many people believe in ghosts? One reason is that many people claim to have personal experiences with ghosts. You don't have to look far to find people who believe that, at one time or another, they've felt the presence of a ghost.

Do any of these paranormal experiences have any solid basis in scientific fact, though? That's where the difficulty in evaluating the reality of ghosts comes in. It becomes very hard to discredit personal experiences. Moreover, there is no clear definition of what most people agree a ghost is. Are they mental? Spiritual? Physical? A mixture of these?

Ghost hunters usually try to use a variety of technological scientific equipment to detect the presence of ghosts. Typical equipment might include Geiger counters, Electromagnetic Field (EMF) detectors, ion detectors, infrared cameras, and super-sensitive microphones.

Despite the use of such equipment, there are still no scientifically-verified cases of ghost detection. Of course, many ghost hunters would claim that this makes sense, since we can't expect the tools of this world to detect ghosts from the spirit world.

In the end, it's up to you to determine whether you believe ghosts are real. There's no scientific evidence for ghosts. Is this because ghosts don't exist? Or do we simply not have the technology to detect them?

Wonder What's Next?

We hope you have the time to join us in Wonderopolis tomorrow. We’ll save you some space!